Spoken Word Spotlight – Harry Baker
There are many cliche views about students that persist in modern day British culture. That we drink too much, smoke too much and have little to offer the world apart from 2:2 degrees in Media Studies and an over-inflated sense of self worth. However, these cliches are being torn apart by the best and the brightest in our poetry scene: artists that buck the modern trend and, at even a tender age, display the qualities that The Tab might have you believe don’t really exist. Once such example of this is a Bristolian maths student named Harry Baker, a lad that came from silence with his wonderful tongue-twister, Paper People.
However, the great thing about Harry Baker, and other poets like Mark Grist and Mixy is that they’ve transferred their poetry skills from the humble poetry slam into other arenas. As Baker so eruditely points out in his TEDx Exeter performance, the only reason that the word “Slam” was associated with poetry was to trick more people into going to poetry events.
One such arena is the rap battle league Don’t Flop, where three or four poets including Baker have made waves as part of the so-called “Killer Crop”, leading to battles with internationally acclaimed battlers like Philadelphia’s Uno Lavoz. With his unique style and cross-promotional appeal, one can’t help but feel that Harry Baker has sussed it: the future of poetry lies far beyond poetry slams, but also in battle rap and other more mainstream outlets. He’s brought spoken word into the sun and this can only be good for poetry as a medium and as an art form.